The first race of the Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia, held today at the Chang International Circuit in Thailand, ended with a podium in the Pro-Am class and a fourth overall place for the Ferraris.
Very high temperatures and an analogous level of humidity caught drivers by surprise, forcing them to come to terms with even less grip level than had been expected, which over the course of the race caused the protagonists no shortage of difficulties.
Tussle. At the start, Yuya Sakamoto headed off in the 488 GT3 of HubAuto Corsa, with David Tjiptobiantoro aboard the T2 Motorsports. The Japanese driver turned out to be the protagonist at the green light, with an opening burst which allowed him to pull back two positions. However, over subsequent laps, in a full-on tussle for fourth place, the driver made an unsuccessful attack which saw him drop to eighth. David Tjiptobiantoro, setting off from the middle of the group, held a good pace to move up to tenth position. In the thirty-second minute, the two Ferrari boxes sprang into action for the tire and driver change. New Zealander Andre Heimgartner took over Sakamoto’s seat, while former Formula 1 driver Ryo Haryanto relieved Tjiptobiantoro.
The podium and vicinity. The second part of the race saw the two Ferraris climb the table with Heimgartner, on his debut in the 488 GT3, in contention as he chased for podium positions. The final assault from the HubAuto Corsa driver could have resulted in a third place, but was thwarted, however, by a back-marker who, at that point, made it impossible to make the decisive attack. Ryo Haryanto, for his part, continued to move up positions to eighth overall, second in the Pro-Am class.
Tomorrow’s schedule. Race 2 of the second round of the Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia is scheduled for tomorrow at 11:45 in Thailand, corresponding to 06:45 in Italy.